Responsibility for the death of Jesus

For other uses, see Deicide (disambiguation).
"God-killer" and "God-slayer" redirect here. For other uses, see God-killer (disambiguation) and God-slayer (disambiguation).
"Killers of God" redirects here. For the Hong Kong political drama film, see God of Killers.

Deicide is the killing (or the killer) of a god. The concept is applied to the crucifixion of Jesus specifically, but may be used for any act of killing a god, including a life-death-rebirth deity who is killed and then resurrected.

Jewish deicide places the responsibility for the death of Jesus on the Jewish people as a whole. As a part of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the Roman Catholic Church issued a declaration which repudiated the belief in the collective Jewish guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus.


The term deicide was coined in the 17th century from medieval Latin *deicidium, from de-us "god" and -cidium "cutting, killing."

New Testament accounts

According to the New Testament accounts, the Judean (Jewish) authorities in Jerusalem charged Jesus with Jesus Seminar's Scholars Version translation notes for John 18:31: "it's illegal for us: The accuracy of this claim is doubtful."

They brought Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Prefect of Judea, who "consented" to Jesus' execution. According to the Bible, Pontius Pilate ordered Jesus to be flogged. Washing his hands, Pilate said he would not take the blame for Jesus' death, to which the crowd replied, "His blood be upon us and upon our children."[1]

Pilate is portrayed in the Gospel accounts as a reluctant accomplice to Jesus' death. Modern scholars note that a Roman Governor such as Pilate would have no problem in executing any leader whose followers posed a potential threat to Roman rule. It has also been suggested that the Gospel accounts may have downplayed the role of the Romans in Jesus' death during a time when Christianity was struggling to gain acceptance in the Roman world.[2]

Christian analysis

Various Christian denominations have taught that God is ultimately responsible for the death of Jesus, as part of the divine plan of salvation (cf. Substitutionary atonement). The crucifixion is seen as an example of Christ's eternal love for mankind and as a self-sacrifice on the part of God for his children (humanity).

Alternatively, the Gnostic Gospel of Judas contends that Jesus commanded Judas Iscariot to set in motion the chain of events that would lead to his death.[3]

The following is a verse from a hymn written in 1892 for use in the Church of England to call upon God to convert the Jews to Christianity:

Though the Blood betrayed and spilt,
On the race entailed a doom,
Let its virtue cleanse the guilt,
Melt the hardness, chase the gloom;
Lift the veil from off their heart,
Make them Israelites indeed,
Meet once more for lot and part
With Thy household's genuine seed.[4]

Popular culture

  • The God of War series involves the deicide of the Greek pantheon.
  • The video game Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn involves the killing of the goddess Ashera. Any relationship to the Canaanite goddess is unclear.
  • In the video game Smite the announcer will declare a deicide when all of the enemy Gods have been killed within a short duration and haven't respawned yet.
  • The video game Realm of the Mad God involves the killing of numerous gods.
  • In the comic book series Preacher, the Saint of Killers commits deicide when he kills God, having already killed the Devil, all of the angels, and an untold number of humans.
  • The video game Silent Hill 3's final confrontation is between the heroine and a creature named God.
  • The term is used as the title for a series of chapters (399 to 421) released for the Bleach manga series. "Deicide" was employed in reference to Gin Ichimaru, who reveals a stronger version of his weapon named Kamishini no Yari or "God-Slaying Spear" during this arc. It was also used in reference to Sōsuke Aizen's newly acquired godhood and the protagonists' attempts to kill him, and Aizen's own plans to kill the Spirit King.
  • Deicide is discussed extensively in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. Many of the gods are very human in appearance and nature and most are often ignored or even treated with contempt, making deicide decidedly easy and unsurprising.
  • In Star Trek, Klingon mythology included a tale of deicide in which the Klingons slew their gods, who "brought more trouble than it was worth."
  • In the web comic Order of the Stick, the titular order is after magic gates that seal in The Snarl, a monster created by conflict between the gods. It slew the Eastern Gods (the Greek Pantheon), and is theorized to be even more potent against deities than mortals. Odin even refers to it as a "deicidal maniac" when the surviving pantheons seal it away.
  • In the Final Crisis comic book, the Green Lantern Corps refer to the assassination of the character Orion, one of the Gods of New Genesis, as a "Code 10-1-11", deicide.
  • Deicide is an American death metal band formed in 1987. Their lyrics usually deal with themes such as Satanism and Anti-Christianity.
  • In the first episode of the seventh season of The CW Television Network's series Supernatural, "Meet the New Boss",[5] Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, and Bobby Singer work against their former ally and recently mutated angel named Castiel who is now calling himself God, even shackling Death in their attempt to murder him.
  • At the end of the game of Shin Megami Tensei 2, Aleph and his party succeed in killing the corrupt YHVH.
  • In Dragonball Z chapter 28, Kami (lit. "God") dies when the demon Piccolo is killed in battle because of the connection that the two share.
  • Another example in Dragonball Z, the creature Majin Boo attacks and kills most of the Kaioshin leaving only the Supreme Kai alive.
  • The manga series Bleach has an arc named Deicide in which the protagonist Ichigo defeats Aizen, a supposed "God" who has surpassed both Hollow and Shinigami.

See also


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